Last night at about 6 p.m. a crowd of Ithacans marched down State Street, waving signs, banners and flags as they banged pots, pans and any other percussion instruments they could find to protest the continued presence of American soldiers in Iraq.
The march began on the Commons, circled around downtown and then returned to its starting place via West State Street.
The protesters claimed allegiance with various local organizations and causes, and cited the Iraq war, political injustices and the election in general as the targets of their protest. Participants said they would have been out protesting regardless of the outcome of the election, since both major presidential candidates initially supported the war.
“Even if Kerry was elected, I would have been out here protesting the war, but now with the focus on the election we felt the need to take to the streets and put more pressure on [Bush],” said Ithaca resident Todd Saddler, who was waving a large American flag and wearing a sweatshirt which read, “There is blood on my flag.”
Although the protest was planned, additional participants joined in as they made their way through the streets of Ithaca.
“I heard a lot of drums beating and with my repulsion for the results of the election it drew me out into the streets to protest. Plus my son likes a good parade,” said Ithaca resident Armin Heurich.
She said the protesters were preparing for a larger protest in Washington in the future. According to the participants, the rally served as a way for the nearly 100 protesters to exercise their anger and frustration against the war and the election.
Steve Halton expressed “total outrage,” at “the most destructive [leader] around the world and here as I have ever seen.”
According to protesters, their march would conclude at a Common Council meeting at City Hall to speak publically against the war.
On campus, students rallied for similar causes starting at noon on Ho Plaza. Approximately 20 speakers addressed issues surrounding the state of democracy in America, which they say needs help — help which they hope will come from Cornell.
“Bush and Kerry campaigned on hate and treating gays as second-class citizens. Fifteen states passed amendments against gay marriage. Hate won this election more than a specific person,” said Lara Chausow ’05, speaking on behalf of Direct Action to Stop Homophobia, a campus organization.
Organizers were careful to point out that the event was a forum for campaign organizers to express their opinions and speak on behalf of themselves and their opinions.
“There were about four or five Cornell Republicans there who seemed to think we were having a pro-Kerry rally.” said Patrick Young ’05. “They were misinformed,”
At the same time, Young felt the event was a success partly because “it was motivating and uplifting in the aftermath of last night’s unfortunate defeat.”
Archived article by Michael Margolis Sun Senior Writer and Freda Ready Sun Managing Editor